New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang was heckled by a crowd of protestors after he attempted to join a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Tuesday.
Today we ride to honor the life of a young black man, Daunte Wright, who was taken by a racist system that does not care about people of color. #DanteWright #blacklivesmatter #dismantlewhitesupremacy #defundthepolice #nyc #bikeride pic.twitter.com/gMpHRQSRBF
— Riders for Black Lives (@RBL_NYC) April 13, 2021
A group called “Riders for Black Lives” organized a bike ride and vigil in response to the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man who was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police, reports Gothamist. About 150 cyclists attended at Barclays Center.
Yang, who had earned criticisms for his calls on more policing amid the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, faced an unwelcome crowd after he joined the protesters as they rode their bikes over the Brooklyn Bridge roadway. Yang was later seen at Battery Park surrounded by photographers and reporters at around 7:50 p.m., according to the New York Post.
A woman on a megaphone yelled out to Yang, “We don’t want you here. You’re pro-cop. Get out of here. Shame on you, Andrew Yang. Shame.”
Other demonstrators joined in berating the candidate, prompting him to leave the event.
Riders for Black Lives’ Kimberly Bernard accused Yang of using the event as “a PR stunt.”
“He rode in the back of the procession using the opportunity for a photo opportunity,” she told Gothamist. “Not once did he reach out to any of the leaders of the group, like other politicians have done in the past.”
Yesterday Riders for Black Lives protested the murder of Daunte Wright. Brad Lander and Eric Adams showed up and talked with leaders of our group—the right thing to do. Andrew Yang showed up, talked to reporters, and ignored RBL—not cool. Protests are not a photo op.
— Jeff Strabone (@jeffstrabone) April 14, 2021
Bernard further stated that they are open to conversations with lawmakers but expressed they refuse to be used for one’s political gain.
“We encouraged Andrew Yang, or any other politician truly committed to uplifting our community, to reach out to us and begin the conversation,” she said.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, another candidate in the mayoral race, also attended the start of the event outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn but did not join the bike ride.
Protesters rode their bikes through Manhattan, chanting “black lives matter” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now,” before congregating in Times Square.